BLOG for June 2017

This is the month we have been waiting for. Finally the date arrived for our sailing courses in the San Juan Islands. We wanted to see where the boat was slipped so went to the marina to find our instructor captain Cathy Franklin was there making preparations as well. We talked for a while and she told us to take the dinghy out for a tour of the marina. That was a fun introduction and we got to see how the marina was laid out. She also invited us to join her at the Bellingham Yacht Club for dinner. We met several of the members and enjoyed a nice dinner. One of the guys flew a drone to capture some video of Chariot under sail and we also met Trisha Hochreiter, a local photographer who takes photos of the yacht club races and other interesting things.

SV Chariot

We drove up two days early to look at a Beneteau M500. When we arrived and called the owners, they had recieved what they consider a good solid offer from someone who also wants to keep the charter buisness running. We got the feeling it would have been a waste of everyones time to look at it so we wished them all the best and to let us know if it fell through. We met Dave King of Bellhaven Yacht and Charters and he did show us another boat, a 1973 Cal 2-46. It was in beautiful shape but it didn't have the tankage we want and the hard top was about 6-8 inches too short for us. It's already under contract though so hoping things go well for them. We have enquired on two other boats a 1974 Cal 2-46 and a 1988 Freedom 45. We'll see how that turns out. It seems like every boat we look at goes under contract. I wonder, is there a way we could capitalize on that?

Mt Baker

The sailing was more than we could have hoped for. We experiences times of very little wind and tiimes of wind over 20 knots. We anchored, tied up to a mooring ball, docked and even tied up against another boat. We sailed wing on wing and close hauled and everything in between. We reefed the main and motor sailed. We studied and past all three tests missing only one question on test two. 299 out of 300 questions. We learned how to do a standing turn which is so useful and every sailor should know how to do.

Heading out

Sunday afternoon, we motored out of Squalicum Harbor in light winds and clear blue skies and started out into Bellingham Bay with no wind. After a while, the wind picked up and we were finally able to raise the sails. It turned out to be a good first day of sailing as we made our way north through Hale Pass then crossed Rosario Straight to Matia Island where we tied up to the dock. It it was incredibly beautiful, calm and quiet. Matia Island is the only National Wildlife Refuge in the San Juans that is open to the public. We hiked around the island following the one mile long trail through the forest watching out not to step on the many banana slugs and some black slugs/snails I don't know the name of. Very interesting and beautiful.

At the dock on Matia Island

interesting tree

Banana slugs

black snail

Monday we sailed west through President Channel and Speiden Channel to the north end of San Juan Island and Roche Harbor. We anchored and went ashore to shower and do some site seeing. Roche Harbor's claim to fame was the Roche Harbor Lime Works which employed thousands of workers to run the kilns 24 hours a day. There are still many remnants of the old lime works structures around. There are many interesting shops and stores with lots of irresistable things to buy. We could not resist having some ice cream and sitting on the dock watching the day go by. Later we went back to the boat for a good nights sleep.

Roche Harbor

Tuesday we left Roche Harbor and sailed back to the east and then south through San Juan Channel to Friday Harbor. The winds were in the mid teens with gusts into the low 20 knot range. We had a heck of a time staying on our heading due to the shifting wind directions and currents. We pulled down the sails and motored into Friday Harbor where we tied up next to a beautiful motor yacht named Gypsy Rose where we met it's Captain Mike and first mate Diane very nice folks, it was good to meet and visit with them. The standing turn maneuver came in really handy in the tight quarters and with two openings into the harbor there is a current to contend with we didn't expect which kept pushing us around but after three tries, we got close enough to get our lines to Mike and Diane and the tied us off. This is a bustling marina with beautiful buildings and again lots of shops and restaurants. While here there was a double rainbow. The pictures don't do it justice.We found a nice little ice cream shop again and enjoyed it on our walk back to the marina and made it back to Chariot where we slept well.

Friday Harbor

beneath the carving



Wednesday we woke up and Gypsy Rose was ready to pull out. We untied the lines and let them leave then tied up again to the dock with the help of some others. After lunch we headed out Friday Harbor into President Channel and headed east to Upright Channel, through Harney Channel and up to East Sound of Orcas Island. The winds were dead through Upright Channel where we motor sailed to offset the currents in the narrow channel. We tied up to a mooring ball in Cascade Bay at Rosario Resort. The wind picked up to gale force all around Orcas Island but we were somewhat protected from the worst of it. We went to shore to study and take the final ASA-104 test. We got back to the boat to find the gooseneck on the boom had popped the heads off of six 5/16 inch stainless steel screws holding the bronze track to the boom. We scratched our heads but found a way to hold it down with two web straps and a line cranked down with a spare mast winch. We decided to stay Thursday night to let the storm pass and let the winds subside.

Rosario Resort


The temporary repairs held and Friday we left East Sound and headed east through Obstruction Pass where we had no wind but a strong current. We motorsailed through that short pass back into Rosario Strait where we sailed north east past Sinclair Island, and headed west. We had the best day of sailing so far going 28.8 miles in 7 hours. We hated for the day to end and we sailed past Eliza Island into Bellingham Bay where we enjoyed the sail until we headed east to Inati Bay on Lummi Island where we anchored and spent our last evening grilling steaks and enjoying the sunset.

Click here to play sailing video.

Here's Inati Bay video

We awoke Saturday with little to no wind so after breakfast we pulled the hook and motored across Bellingham Bay back to Squalicum Harbor and docked Chariot in her slip. We helped clean up a bit and Brian, Cathy's boat repairman came over and in a few hours had the gooseneck track straightened out and reattached to the mast. Our little jury rigging held up great the last two days. We were so excited to have done so well on our tests and the skills tests as well. Although this was the first time for Judy and I to experience sailing together we thoroughly enjoyed it and we have warm feelings for having learned a little, made some wonderful new friends and have many wonderful memories to share. We are looking forward to having many more in the not too distant future.

Anthoney's Hearthfire Restaurant

Saturday was also our 18th wedding aniversary. This sailing trip was part of our aniversary gift to ourselves. That night, we had reservations at Anthoney's Hearthfire Restaurant overlooking the marina. Jacob, our waiter was excellent. The meal was great and because it was our anniversary, he gave us some discounts and a gift card for a free desert good any Anthoney's restaurant. With everything said and done, we headed back to the hotel for our last night in Bellingham. It really was an awesome time and we just may be back before too long.

The videos on this page are just two of 50 videos of various parts of the adventure we will be posting on our YouTube channel over the next few weeks. I hope you get a chance to view them all. Until then, the rest of our story...

By the way, we still have our three original Native American paintings by Cherokee Nation Treasure artist Bill Rabbit. If you or if you know anyone who is interested please check them out on Bill Rabbit Art.

Fair winds to all of our fellow travelers.